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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

If I Was A Bachelor

My wife has just started selling her handmade items online via an Etsy Shop (which you can find here She is working on baby blankets and tonight I admired the red and gray colors of the new blanket she's crocheting. "Honey," she said, "that is pink and purple."

Well, I am color deficient, not color blind... an important distinction (-: but my color senitivity is better some days than others. I guess today is a worse color day. I don't get bad hair days, just bad color days!

So I told my wife. "Wow. It's a good thing I'm not a bachelor. If I were I could be buying pink and purple bedsheets!" Oh my, and could that extend into towels and curtains? Thank God I'm married and she is just fine with colors!
By the way, guys, before you go off saying "he's color blind" with big googly eyes, remember that around 70% of us are--most just don't know it. So when you singles get married, let her choose the colors (you'll be better off that way)!

P.S. I got a good deal of writing done today. Just check out my wife's picture here for proof and look for the word count at the top right on this blog. The big dictionary is an original 1878 (great dictionary).

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Writer's Block syndrom

Working a full-time job plus overtime hours and operating my own publishing company is a big task. One of my readers recently requested I write a post about writer's block and, because that subject has been heavy on my mind, I think now is the propper time to address it.

Sometimes I believe that writer's block exists and sometimes I think it is all in my head. When I go to schools I frequently receive questions relating to how I create characters, how I invent the story ideas, and how I overcome writer's block. I like to say that writer's block does not exist and I sincerely believe it does not. Recently with all the work I've been doing outside of my writing I have not made the time to sit down and write. In some ways it feels like my creativity is cut off for a period of time and I'm just waiting for it to come back. But experience has taught me that I can always work out of writer's block. If I sit down to write and my mind simply blanks on the topic or manuscript I am working on, then I switch tracks to another subject.

In the past I have sat at my computer, mind blank. It may sound too simple, or even funny, but I wrote a letter to myself from my computer.

Computer: Hi Scott, how are you today?

Me: Well, I have some time to write, but my mind is blank.

Computer: What story do you want to work on today?

Me: Well, I was thinking about working on my second Sword of the Dragon novel. But I'm not sure what to write next.

Computer: Hold it! Slow down. Tell me what happened recently in the manuscript. What have you written so far?

This is one of the most effective ways I have found of working out of writer's block. It is my belief that the brain simply wears thin on frequently visited works, so you have to freshen it with something along a different story-vein, line of thought, or genre, etc.

I remember a particular day when I couldn't think of anything to write in my novel. So I started typing a story about a writer who had a deadline and couldn't get his imagination rolling. Before I realized it I had over a thousand words in a long short story titled Trapped In Imagination ...and that story is one of my fans' favorites.

So if your mind is burned out along one track, try refreshing it by thinking along another vein. The brain simply gets tired. Give it a rest, but make sure to exercise your writing skills at the same time. And remember to prioritize your writing. Other things (jobs in particular) pull me out of my creative vein and I have to work extra hard to get my writing done.

Hope this is helpful everyone!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Contract Signed!

It came in the mail a couple days ago--the contract for my first three novels from AMG Publishers! Now that it is signed I will send it off to them. This is a big moment for me. I've been working toward a contract with a publisher for several years now.

For those of you who've been asking "What can I do to help promote Swords of the Six" I have some news for you. AMG's director of marketing is going to focus on viral internet promotion. What does that mean for you? Well, AMG is going to produce banner ads and other goodies that you can plaster on your blog, your website, or anywhere else you please on the web. When the time comes to put those banners out there, invite your friends to become fans of my facebook fanpage, invite them to use the banner ad for Swords of the Six, and invite them to invite their friends to do the same. By this means we have the potential to reach millions of readers--but I'll need your help to do it.

There will be a new website for my series soon. AMG is creating it and they already bought the website domain.

All of this means that Swords of the Six is now going out-of-print from Flaming Pen Press--until its re-release through AMG. For those of you who are among the 3,000 people who own the 'original' version of my novel, keep that copy safe... it's going to be valuable someday!

I'll be sure to keep all of you updated!

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Lord of the Rings: Secular or Christian Fantasy?

My recent post received several comments regarding my classification of The Lord of the Rings as a secular fantasy and I think it's time to address the issue. What makes a story Christian? Is it honorable characters, clean story, or an accurate representation of the Christian/biblical worldview? I believe a story is Christian if it attempts to stay within the Christian worldview, which I will attempt to demonstrate The Lord of the Rings does not.
  1. The Bible condemns sorcery; there is no such thing as a 'good' wizard.
  2. The world Tolkien created is polytheistic; one mighty god and various lesser gods created the Earth and one of them warred against the rest. This brings Tolkien's world closer in illustration to the Greek mythology rather than biblical teaching where God alone created all.

Tolkien dismissed claims that his books were an allegory. He wrote fantastic fairytales and meant for them to be enjoyed as such. An important fact is that Tolkien stated in his introduction to The Lord of the Rings that he did not mean it to be an allegory. Why then do people turn around and say that Tolkien did write it as allegory? Yes, his Roman Catholic background played into the story, but to present an allegory was neither his intention, nor his result--and on another note, Roman Catholisism teaches salvation by works (contrary to Christ's message). There has been a trend in the CBA of publishing books on "Finding God in..." These titles (the ones that stand out in my mind) include The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and The Matrix. I believe it is because we want to justify supporting or promoting secular inventions that we find appealing. But if we have to justify them shouldn't we rethink what we are doing? And if we have to write a book on how to find God in decidedly not Christian stories, shouldn't we ask what motivates us to do so? The Lord of the Rings falls into the same pot as Harry Potter; we have a dark villain practicing sorcery, and a valiant hero who also practices sorcery. That is not to say that Tolkien's story lacks merit (I believe it has much) but it doesn't attempt to deliver an allegory and should, therefore, be accepted as a fairytale.

In contrast to this, consider the Narnia series. No one that I have met denies the strong allegory in those stories. Christ and His sacrifice were presented in a powerful way and any 'magic' wielded by heroes/heroines seems to be accredited to Creator God. In fact, some secular readers are uncomfortable with the allegorical elements. And I know some have been uncomfortable with elements in my novel. Why? Because if an author writes the gospel truth with conviction, delivering the truth to the best of their ability in their fictional stories, it will convict the unbeliever.

In my writings I have attempted to attribute strength to the Giver of might. My inspiration for the 'magical' elements where the heroes and heroines are concerned, are the biblical accounts of Moses and Aaron, and others. God gives power to those who serve him.

Now I know many people will disagree with me on my perspective on LOTR, but I am only basing my conclusions on the author's stated intent. If you wanted Tolkien to call it an allegory, sorry but he didn't; he did the opposite.

P.S. I am a fan of Tolkien's work. He was a master storyteller.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Can't help but wonder...

Can't help but wondering...

A couple weeks ago contract negotiations with AMG Publishers closed with pleasing results. In a short while I will be ending production of "Swords of the Six" and transfering that privilidge to AMG. The publisher expects to release "Swords of the Six" this November and I find myself wondering, with great anticipation, what the new cover will look like and the new interior design. The publisher agreed to use the same artwork, so I can expect to see the dragon image on the new book.
I am eager to begin promoting the new book--and the forthcoming two sequels. The success of my self-published book gives me great hope that, once released, I can continue to give it into the hands of fantasy readers everywhere. I've noticed that most of my readers are fans of secular series such as Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, and The Lord of the Rings. But, now, with AMG backing my series I expect to grow my audience with readers of Christian Fantasy (Dragons in Our Midst, The Door Within, and Narnia).
AMG Publishers asked me to provide material for sales, marketing, and book cover copy, and catalogue information. They had some pretty challenging requests, namely succinct sales lines/pitches. Here is a glimpse of what I worked out:
  1. Described my book in 25 words
    A dragon prophet seeks justice and hatches human daughters from eggs, paving with holy sacrifice the path to conquering an ancient evil.

  2. Described by book in 50 words
    Betrayed in ancient times by his choice warriors, the dragon prophet sets a plan in motion to bring the traitors to justice. One thousand years later he hatches human daughters from eggs and arms them with the traitors’ swords. Either the traitors will repent, or justice will be served.

This has been a great year. I'm looking forward to seeing what God is going to do in the coming months!


"Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones." -Proverbs 16:24

In a world where morality is forsaken and Christ neglected, wholesome books are uncommon. The themes of my writing are love, self-sacrifice, and honor.

I see my generation turning from God to the gods of this world. I see homes torn apart in the pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification. Children are murdered by the millions every year . . . without ever seeing the world outside their mothers' wombs. Through fiction I strive to encourage those who are willing, to stand against these things and be heroes and heroines; chivalrous, gentle, full of righteous indignation, and the fear and love of their Creator.